Having just completed Rookie Camp, it's safe to say that I'm fully initiated into USSA (United States Skiing Association). Starting Thursday and ending Saturday afternoon, my teammates Erik Lynch and Michael Ward, 40 other athletes and I were thrown into everything that we should know as we make the step up to the national team. It was a pretty cool experience to meet the other athletes and to learn about all that USSA has to offer.
Rookie camp was especially big this year - 43 athletes out of 189 total athletes on the US Ski and Snowboarding Team. A lot of the new athletes are part of US Freeskiing, which just became a branch of USSA last fall after Halfpipe and Slopestyle skiing and snowboarding received the approval for their Olympic debut in Sochi. They named the A team in December, but the B teams for both the Freeskiing sports are all new athletes. Some of the slopestyle and pipe athletes are already experienced veterans, while one boarder is 13 and two or three were 14 to 15! It's hard to imagine being named to a national team as a middle schooler, but those little punks must be able to huck!
Nancye Rahn, the team's athletic manager, kept us on schedule and plenty busy. I didn't think to take any pictures, but I found a handful posted up on twitter. The first picture below is in the conference room, where we spent most of time, listening and interacting to presentations.
Throughout the camp, we covered everything from USSA's academic and career programs, to nutrition and sport psychology, to financial planning, doping control and community involvement.
Below, X-Game medalists Bobby Brown and Grete Eliason participate in a mock press conference during our communication and media training.
Team building at the National Ability Center. (I know, typically a 4-way tug-of-war battle is not what you think of as a team building exercise. It proved a point though: we didn't get very far pulling in separate ways.)
Here's a list with traits of success that one of the groups came up with during the career planning session. The idea is that as athletes, we are setting ourselves up for success, we just need to acknowledge the skills we learn in sport and then apply them to real life.
And we had some time to play basketball and soccer. I am most likely not about to drain a big jumper here.
All in all, it was a great time really getting to know athletes from other disciplines and USSA as an organization. I came away with a better appreciation of the resources that are available to me. I'm excited to be part of something that is first and foremost dedicated to being the "Best in the World" in skiing, but is also committed to creating well-rounded individuals in all aspects of life.
Where am I?